The bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, is commonly found around the world. More than half of all people will have an H. pylori infection at some point in their lives. Often, H. pylori affects children.
While H. pylori infections are often asymptomatic and don’t present immediate problems, you should know about the link between this bacteria and eventual risks of gastric or stomach cancer.
The gastroesophageal health and wellness experts at the Center for Advanced Surgery can help you understand the risks that bacterial infections can cause for your digestive system. Our team, led by Dr. Marc Ward and Dr. Steven Leeds, treats new and existing patients from state-of-the-art offices in Dallas, Plano, and Tyler, Texas.
H. pylori and you
H. pylori can be transmitted through contaminated food or water, one reason why multiple people in a household together are likely to share infections. H. pylori can also be present in domesticated animals.
It’s believed that H. pylori enters your body through your mouth. Once inside your body, H. pylori digs into the mucus layer that lines your stomach. This bacteria has a spiral shape.
We’re still learning more about why H. pylori bacteria tend to affect some individuals differently than others. Some people with H. pylori infections don’t show any symptoms at all. Others experience active stomach inflammation, with symptoms of stomach pain or nausea.
Unchecked inflammation can develop into painful bleeding ulcers in your stomach lining.
Your stomach cancer risks
H. pylori is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a carcinogen. It means that being infected with H. pylori significantly increases your risks of developing certain gastric or stomach cancers such as gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma or gastric adenocarcinoma.
H. pylori is the primary identified cause of gastric cancer, followed by chronic gastritis, and a diet high in preserved foods and low in fruits and vegetables. You’re more than six times more likely to develop stomach cancer once you’ve been infected with H. pylori.
To prevent the development of stomach cancer, get short-term antibiotic treatment if you’re infected with H. pylori. You should be tested for H. pylori if you have active gastric or duodenal ulcers or a history of ulcers.
Left untreated, stomach cancers can worsen and spread. If you have a gastric cancer tumor, it may need to be surgically removed to protect your whole-body health.
At the Center for Advanced Surgery, we provide laparoscopic partial or total gastrectomies, depending on your treatment needs. With our state-of-the-art laparoscopic surgical technology, we can minimize your abdominal incisions, and your recovery time.
For the diagnosis and treatment you need to protect your digestive health, get in touch with the team at the Center for Advanced Surgery now. Schedule an appointment over the phone, or book online.